A Crazy Storm, an Even Crazier Leap of Faith, and the Boldest Answer

I want to take you to a passage of Scripture:

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”       Matthew 14:22-33

These disciples just witnessed one of the greatest miracles Jesus performed. They watched a man named Jesus somehow make five loaves of bread and two fish enough food to feed almost 10,000 people. After this impressive time, Jesus sends his disciples to travel across the sea. The disciples ask if Jesus was coming with them, but he says no because he needs to spend time alone with the Father. Respecting Jesus’ decision the disciples embark on their journey to travel across the Sea of Galilee. As they begin to sail, they encounter a terrible storm. These men, who are experienced sailors, are struggling trying to go anywhere.

The winds are ruthless, the sky is black, and the only light the disciples see is the illumination of lightning. Imagine the shouts to row in unison “up, over, dip, and pullll” and again “up, over, dip, and pullll.” Even the most skilled sailors would struggle to navigate a storm like this. After rowing for hours, they have only made it three miles. They are exhausted, defeated, and fearing death by the storm continuing its rage.

The disciples glance over the hull of their boat and see this figure approaching them. They are fatigued and probably hallucinating. They loosen their grip on their oars and wipe their eyes and yet the figure is still there, advancing towards them! Panic begins to set in, and they remember all the ghosts stories they heard at the docks. Many fear this is the end! All of their superstitions of the sea are coming back to them and they begin to scream in fear.

All of sudden this ghostly figure cries out for them not to fear. The disciples immediately recognize the voice of Jesus. The bold Peter stands and runs to the side of the boat. In the middle of the storm, Peter is only focused on being with Jesus. From the miracles Peter has seen, and the excitement to see Jesus walking on water, Peter can’t stop himself from screaming “tell me to come on the water with you!” Jesus smiles, simply says “come”, and waves his hand inviting Peter to meet him on top of the sea. Peter without hesitation jumps out of the boat and he couldn’t believe it, he was walking on water!

Focused on Jesus, Peter was making his way towards him. He was smiling in disbelief, when all of sudden a loud strike of lightning cracks the sky and a massive gust of wind follows. Peter, no longer focused on Jesus, panics and falls into the raging water. Peter tries to stay afloat, using all the strength he has left to swim, but he is exhausted and the storm is raging on. He screams in desperation “Jesus, please save me, I need you!” Jesus, with the same smile he had when he invited Peter, grabs him by the hand and picks him up. And friend to friend Jesus says, “oh you of little faith, why did you doubt” in the most comforting tone. As soon as Jesus enters the boat, the storm stops and they arrive where they needed to be. The lesson is over.

What was the point of that?

What was Jesus teaching his disciples?

Through Peter they saw firsthand of what it is like to live by faith and not by sight. When focused on Jesus, Peter could walk on water defying reality; but as soon as Peter turned to the world, he sank. This was an important lesson Jesus knew the disciples needed to see.

When Jesus and his disciples make it to the other side of the sea they find shelter for the night. They will quickly learn people can change just as fast as the wind. The next day, crowds gather in masses to hear Jesus teach. They have heard about his miracles and now they want to hear this teacher firsthand. As Jesus is teaching, they become dissatisfied and offended with his teachings. They begin to question if this man is really the person he claims to be. They get fed up with Jesus and leave him because his teachings are too difficult. Hundreds leave Jesus and now all that’s left are the 12 disciples who have been with Jesus from the beginning.

He looks at them, wondering if they will follow the crowd. He asks if they will leave him too. The disciples pause, they are afraid to answer. The world left Jesus, so why should they stay?

Yet Peter, who learned his lesson, focused on the Savior and not the world, answers, “To whom would we go? You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This answer makes Jesus smile. And it looks like Peter and the disciples learned the lesson to live by faith and not by sight.

One storm.

One leap of faith.

One bold answer.

For us today, we can live with faith and not by sight. Let us focus on the person of Jesus; our Savior, Redeemer, and Healer. We must keep our eyesight on Jesus and not get distracted by the chaos in the world. Jesus will be there for us in the storm, and pick us up when we fall. We must have faith in Jesus and the promises He has given us. So, in the middle of your storm, will you take that leap of faith and boldly answer the call of Jesus?